Brian Robison earned a contract extension in the middle of the 2013 season with probably the best performance of his career, posting a career-high nine sacks and returning a fumble 61 yards for a touchdown on Sept. 15 against the Bears.

And for as much as he struggled early in the season, Jared Allen closed the year on a tear, posting 6 1/2 sacks in the Vikings' final five games to end the year with 11 1/2, surpassing the 10-sack plateau for the seventh straight season. And though Everson Griffen didn't have the breakout year the Vikings were hoping for, he still wound up with 5 1/2 sacks, forcing a fumble to close out the Vikings' first win of the year on Sept. 29 in London.

After enjoying more than a half-decade of stability at the position, the Vikings have some big decisions to make with their defensive ends. Allen hits free agency in March, after carrying a $17 million cap figure this season, and Griffen still disappeared too often to answer questions about whether he can be counted on consistently.

As a result, the Vikings weren't able to get consistent pressure enough with their defensive line to control games the way they have in the past.